Friday, July 31, 2009

Beware of your credit card company!

I'm sure my readers are all too smart to fall for this little -- I can't call it anything but a scam. But just in case you have not run into this, here's a caution.

If you pay bills online,

WATCH OUT for the date that the website defaults to, as being the "payment date."

Used to be that my credit card company's payment site defaulted to the current business day. ONLY if I logged on after business hours, or on a holiday, or weekend, would the default date flip over, to the next business day. And in fact, no earlier dates could even be clicked on the site.

But those were the Good Ol' Days.

Today I logged on to pay my bill. Just after lunch, at 1:00 PM.

If I had not looked carefully, I would have missed their little deception. My payment date was apparently .... Monday? August 3rd ??!

The bill was due today, and that meant it was about to mark my payment as late.

I thought : "Uh-oh! They've backpedaled the cut-off time to noon instead of 5 PM!"

They have this little drop-down calendar, about the size of a pea, next to the transaction. As mentioned, when their definition of "today" is officially over, that calendar has no previous dates. Your earliest choice is the next day.

But, those little sonuvaguns! (OK, that's not what I really said) ... Today was still coming up as an active option.

I had to arrow back to "Previous month" because, this being the last day of July, it had set itself to its August calendar.

Then I had to choose July 31st.

I paid, and I paid on time. My confirmation said so. July 31st was available all along, but they'd have levied some obnoxious late penalties if I had not noticed their scam and jumped through their little hoops to choose today's date.

Maybe readers are familiar with this practice, but just make sure they haven't snuck it by you !


Sherwood Harrington said...

I'd call these people snakes, but that would be unnecessarily harsh.

To snakes.

Thanks for the heads up, Ruth.

Mike said...

I've got one card that defaults to the due date, even if you're paying well in advance (eg, on the first of the month, but the due date is the 14th)

Which is okay, as long as you remember to mentally deduct that payment from your available balance throughout the ensuing two weeks. Sure can be a surprise when it suddenly disappears!

Christy said...

I'm with Mr. Harrington on this one!

ronnie said...

Me too, Christy.

I pay my credit card bill online through my bank, which lets me set up any number of bills or creditors I can pay through the bank's website. They always default to the current day (or the next business day on holidays). You should look into it - I don't trust them that much, but I do trust that they want my custom - and have more to lose by screwing me over- than my credit card co.